Bad Fit? Men's Wearhouse Rejects Jos. A. Bank's Offer
(NEW YORK) -- Would a combined Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank make for a good fit?On Tuesday, when the latter confirmed it had offered to buy the former, the question hung briefly in the air. In a letter dated Sept. 18 but released on Wednesday, Robert Wildrick, chairman of Jos. A. Bank, told Men's Wearhouse CEO Douglas Ewert he was offering to buy all outstanding shares of Men's Wearhouse for $48 cash per share, or $2.38 billion in total, saying that he thought the two would make "ideal partners."
"The strategic wisdom of this transaction is compelling," declared Wildrick. "By combining our two companies, we can together create the best men's apparel and sportswear designer, manufacturer and retailer in the U.S."
The combined companies, he said, would capture "operating synergies."
On Wednesday, however, Men's Wearhouse gave Jos. A. Bank the brush-off. It rejected the offer as too little, saying in a statement that the deal significantly undervalued Men's Wearhouse's prospects.
Ewert said in the Men's Wearhouse statement that he and his board were confident that their recent actions, including their acquisition of boutique brand Joseph Abboud, had left the company well-positioned.
Howard Davidowitz, chairman of New York-based Davidowitz & Associates, a national retail consulting and investment banking firm, has been watching retail acquisitions succeed or fail for 40 years. He shrugged off Men's Wearhouse's rejection as preliminary and pro forma.
"It's the job of the board to maximize price," he said.
He expected negotiations to continue, with Men's Wearhouse jockeying to get more money.
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